Montreal fishing spots

Montreal fishing spots

Montreal shore fishing spots click here.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Amazing pike fishing trip at Domaine Shannon

First fishing trip of the summer, my 16 year old son Eli joined me for a 5 day trip up to Lac Wahoo, my favorite lake for pike at Le domaine Shannon outfitter. Those of you familiar with my blog know that I've been there a number of times over the past decade, and my kids and I have all enjoyed catching some trophy pike and walleye on Lac Wahoo, as well as huge numbers of smaller fish at times.

As the camp was available on Sunday, I drove through Saturday night, hoping to get there for an early morning bite on Sunday. The temperature kept dropping through the Laurentians, and by the time I was driving through on the main road at Le Domaine Shannon around 5 am, we had near freezing temperature at 2C.

Just before the turn of onto the secondary dirt road, my tire pressure light came on. I stopped to investigate, and to my dismay, I had a flat tire. Thankfully, I had the right equipment on board to put on the spare tire and pump it. 

Drove back 15 km to the main camp at Le Domaine Shannon, where they promptly patched 2 holes in the tire. Was lucky that it wasn't cracked or completely blown. Once done, I headed back up the road to Lac Wahoo.

After arriving 3 hours later than planned, we broke camp, ate, got the boat setup with my portable sonar, rod holders, and electric motor, in addition to the 15 hp 4 stroke provided by Le Domaine Shannon.

We found an area out of the wind for some casting. Eli opted for a one knocker spook, while I tied on a new lure I got at Basspro in the USA, called "walking mullet" made by Offshore Angler. Priced at $2.69 usd each, I figured I couldn't go wrong. At 4 inches of length, and with a slimmer profile than most of the Zara Spooks I use, I was curious to see how it would perform.

 Sure enough, I landed this nice pike within a couple casts.

As customary, we harvested the keeper sized pike for the trip's first shore lunch.

After a bit more casting fighting increasing wind, we decided to do some trolling. Trolling patterns on Lac Wahoo tend to be extremely specific for some reason. On a given day, they all seem to biting at one depth, and dead zone everywhere else. As soon as I got our first hit at 11 feet, I tried to keep us in the 9 to 13 foot range. Easier said than done with an extremely rudimentary sonar with no lake map. Eli was more than happy trolling, as I offered to let him catch all fish we hooked trolling throughout the trip.

Sure enough, we ended up landing 4 pike on our first pass of the lake, all hit exactly at 11 feet. Mostly on a hj14 Rapala Husky Jerk, and 1 on a Smithwick Rogue. Biggest of them was a nice 30 inch pike with a thick girth. Snapped a few quick pics before releasing her in good condition.

A few more small fish casting later in the day, and our first day ended up successful, despite the crazy amount of black flies that were swarming around us.

Day 2:

After a short night sleep, we headed out early in hopes of trying to get some more pike casting. Unfortunately, the wind was way too strong, so we spent a most of the day trolling. After not being able to find any more fish at 11 feet, we tried deeper passes up to 20-25 feet. Nothing doing, we eventually went shallow, and ended up catching a lot of smaller pike trolling spinnerbaits in shallow 5 to 7 feet of water, just at the edges of the weedbeds. Released them all, as they were quite small.

Highlight of the day was our shore fishing / wading excursion. Knowing the atrocious black fly situation, we came prepared. Trick to these buggers, is leaving no skin exposed.

 We eventually added bug nets over our heads once the bug got really bad...

Sure enough, the spot paid off with a couple more keeper sized pike I caught on my walking mullet lure.

More chances to hone my boneless fillet skills and fill up an empty freezer back home with some delicious, pristine pike fillets.

Day 3:

We woke up shortly after sunrise with a heavy storm moving in. After only one short night of broken sleep over the past couple days, Eli and I decided to sleep and lazy around the cabin while waiting out the storm. After sleeping in for a few more hours, followed by a late brunch, the storm broke around noon. We gave it another hour, and with no more rain and the clouds starting to thin out in the heavy winds, we head back out for some more trolling. 

Rainy days with heavy cloud are the best chance to catch walleyes on Lac Wahoo. The lakes walleye population is not what some of the other nearby lakes boast, but there are still many fish in the 37 to 53 cm slot size to be had.

Sure enough, first hit of the day was our first walleye of the trip, about 1 inch over the minimum slot size.

After a few more smaller pike caught trolling, we headed back to shore, where I filetted the walleye before heading out for some more shore fishing with Eli.

The shore bite was on, we landed a bunch of pike, managing 3 more keepers, and Eli catching another decent walleye in the 16 inch range.

We now had a delicious breakfast planned for the next day, after having enjoyed a pike shore lunch the previous day.

Fillet table was very buggy, head net and mosquito coils were a must.

The sky finally cleared, but still too windy for casting, Eli caught another nice pike while trolling, to end the day.

Day 4:

We woke up to one of those beautiful sunny summer mornings, not a cloud in the sky, and the entire surface of the lake was like a mirror. This gave us the option of casting some topwater lures in areas of the lake that are normally windy.

I chose to head out to an area where we have caught some big pike while trolling in the past. On our way, Eli said he had a feeling at was going to be a good day. From his mouth, to God's ears, he couldn't have been more right.

First spot we tried had a big set of lily pads growing near deeper water. Within a couple casts, Eli got a nice topwater explosion on his Zara spook. I kept working my walking mullet back to the boat while he was fighting the pike, and sure enough, just when I was ready to pull it in, another huge explosion right beside the boat, and we were into our first double header of the trip.

As we were in a good 12 feet of water or so, my big pike ran deep under the boat a couple times. Eli managed to haul his fish on board without the net, and a few seconds, I netted a Lac Wahoo giant!

It pays to come equipped to properly release bigger fish, meaning the use of a big, rubber net to avoid destroying the scales and skin, as well as the landing mat I use while carp fishing, for added protection and cushioning.

The immediate difference in sizes was noticeable, the smaller of these to fish being a decent 5 lbs pike.

I was lucky to land the giant pike without using a leader, my 4 inch topwater lure was engulfed horizontally across it's mouth, which likely prevented it from clamping down on my line. The big pike measured 40 inches, and new personal best for me, and on a $2.69 topwater lure, no less!

After fishing Lac Wahoo for a decade in hopes of landing a 40 inch pike on a topwater lure, the pursuit of my dream finally materialized. Having one of my sons on board with me at the time was the icing on the cake. I soaked in the moment while reviving the big pike, and finally released her when she was strong enough to kick down to the bottom on her own.

Eli's pike paled in comparison.

After a bit more casting and a few smaller pike landed, we headed back to shore for a celebratory walleye breakfast. I'm not one to normally post pictures of our food, but we'll make an exception in this case.

First off, I washed off the 4 walleye fillets that I had prepared the previous evening. Letting them sit overnight in the fridge actually makes for better cooking, as they are past the rigor mortis stage, meaning no curling up in the frying pan as fresh caught fish often do.

Dipped in egg and coated with seasoned breadcrumbs.

Pan seared on medium heat in butter, and drizzled with fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Eli anticipating chowing down on his catch.

After blessing God for creating these tasty creatures (shehakol) and for living the experience (shehecheyanu), the moment of truth.

I'd say Eli approved.

Another one of the priceless little moments in life you learn to appreciate as you get older.

Later on that day, I decided to try a trick I had stumbled across while ice fishing. Being that we are not permitted the use of live of dead baitfish in Quebec during the summer, I quick strike rigged a couple sausages, in hopes of landing a big pike.

I then set the lines with extra loose drag in the bank sticks and bite alarm rod holders I use for carp fishing.

We then set up a fire, barbecued some steak and chicken while waiting, but unfortunately, nothing came to play for a few hours. Oh well, always fun trying new tactics.

Eventually, we head back out for the evening bite. With the lake still pretty calm, and bright sunny skies, we opted to do some more casting. Nothing much for an hour or so, and Eli's wrist started getting sore from all the lure twitching he had done over the past few days. I suggested we troll again, and left the method, depth and lure choice up to him. Being adventurous, he picked trolling with topwater lures, a method we still hadn't tried on this trip yet. While I've caught a few pike trolling topwater on Lac Wahoo over the years, the were typically very small fish, and only super aggressive ones, as you need to troll at higher speeds in order to keep the lures working and above the surface when using buzzbaits.

I rigged the inside line with a Booyah buzzbait, and alternated the outside deeper line between a 3d bat, Berkely Choppo, and spinnerbait. I had the inside line just about on the shore, trolling at high speed in 1 to 3 feet of water. Sure enough, we caught a couple smaller pike, while covering the lake in much less time than a standard troll.

Eventually, we came around a shallow point, The buzzbait line started screaming straight out. I was sure I had hooked the shoal or an overhanging branch, so I flipped the motor into reverse, to back down on the lure to retrieve it. Eli had taken the rod out of the rod holder, and was reeling down the slack, when he started feeling big headshakes on the line. Next thing I know, there is a big pike on the line ripping drag of the reel. After a good fight, I netted Eli's big pike. Instantly, he knew he beat his pike record, with his first ever double digit 10 lb fish.

Again, another totally unexpected  topwater catch resulting in another new personal best, and both on the same day! 

The odds of both of us hitting our biggest pike on topwater lures on the same day in that lake are staggeringly low. Based on past years experiences on Lac Wahoo, these giants are roughly one out of every 100 or so fish hooked when casting or trolling lures.

Eli words early that morning of feeling it was going to be a good day were prophetic. This day was likely the best I've ever had on Lac Wahoo in since I started fishing there in 2012.

Day 5:

Although we had originally planned on leaving the following day, Eli and I felt the trip was already a smashing success, so we opted to take it easy and leave after noon. Morning casting produced a few more small pike, as did the troll back to the cabin. I beached our boat for the final time of the trip before 9 am, removed all our gear, and took another moment to soak in the many years of amazing memories Lac Wahoo has provided me and my family over the years.

This was one of our better pike fishing trips to Le Domaine Shannon. Being able to both break our personal pike records on topwater lures, harvesting and bringing home a generous 10 pike bag limit of fish in the 3 lbs to 5 lbs range, having a couple tasty fresh caught meals of both pike and walleye, and releasing a good 50 or so smaller pike, are what it's all about. The unseasonably cool weather we enjoyed was a bonus, as was the surprisingly scarce amount of mosquitoes in comparison to previous July trips to Le Domaine Shannon.

As usual, I highly recommend le Domaine Shannon as an outfitter. From the choice of many lakes filled with pike and walleye, to always working and well maintained quality of their remote camp equipment and appliances, to the friendly service of the Danis family that has owned the place for over 50 years, Le Domaine Shannon is truly one the the gems of the upper Outaouais region of Quebec.

For more information and blog posts about our trips to Le Domaine Shannon, click:

No comments: